Alan Mehrez and business partner Aileen Rodriguez' new production, finance and international sales company Byzantium Entertainment will debut at AFM next week with the live-action adventure Aladdin.

The company plans to produce two to three films a year in the low to mid budget range. Aladdin is funded through private equity and will commence shooting in Cairo in March 2009.

Mehrez, who over the course of his career has produced and directed films such as Bloodsport and Cyborg 3, wrote the story and will produce and direct. The story follows a young hero who confronts the sultan's villainous son with the help of a genie.

Steve Tymon wrote the screenplay and William Kanter serves as executive producer. Casting announcements are expected shortly.

'Aladdin is a magical and whimsical tale of overcoming one's own limits while standing up to evil that will entertain and delight all ages,' Mehrez said. 'The film will combine high action, comedy and spectacular special effects.

'This film is also about promoting positive aspects of Middle Eastern culture through an audience friendly medium,' Mehrez added. 'In as much as we can, we hope to shed a positive light on Middle Easterners, using films as a platform to do so.'